Every Monday evening opposite Coventry City Council, Cheryl pulls up with her team of vigilant volunteers.
It’s 6:30pm and, although half an hour early, a crowd has gathered waiting for the imminent arrival of God’s Coffee Shop.
Cheryl Soonius, Director, is here with her crew and they’re immediately greeted with open arms from the hungry crowd; they’re even given a hand setting up shop!
“We run the service spontaneously, we don’t know what we’re going to be cooking and who’s coming. We’ve had 140 people here once with only four volunteers!
“Today we’ve got organic turkey that had a few faults in it and some ratatouille that’s been cooked by my sister. I’ve got tonnes of apples in the car so I’ll be doing something with them soon!”
But it’s not just a food service being provided:
“We don’t just see homelessness here, we see loneliness, mental health issues and a lot of desperate people, we have everything here and we try and listen to everyone which does go a long way.
“Wherever you’re in life, you’re loved and that’s the greatest thing that we can give.”
Tucking into his tea at one of the foldout tables is Martin. He’s a regular and started using the service in 2015.
It’s clear the work is valued:
“They don’t have to do it, they do it for the love. We’re in July now, August tomorrow, but Cheryl and the volunteers don’t have to do it in the cold October, November or December nights, do they?
“All of us here have been around the track, we can all sit here and feel sorry for ourselves but we’ve got to show appreciation for what these people do.
“They come in the teaming rain and when it’s pitch black. They don’t need to do it. They do it because their heart is there.”
God’s Coffee Shop received a grant from the Surviving Winter campaign. They are using the funds to improve their existing recycled garden furniture, giving service users a better overall experience.